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tell me about your inverter battery system

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  • tell me about your inverter battery system

    Building a mobile van with my hubby. We are try to deceide between a battery system and a generator. Thoughts? Suggestions? Advice?

  • #2
    I like my genny. I can count on it no matter what. One pull on the start up cord and its up and running. Lots of batteries, charging and long term costs of many batteries I don't see the advantage. I have not done a complete cost analysis, but I think its probably about even. I can run my genny for about 6 dollars a day. Anyone else have a cost break down? I would think it would take about 3 to 4 years to get a good cost analysis.


    • #3
      I love my inverter system. We tried to do it cheap in my truck camper & that is where the problems came up. When we did our van last yr I have had no problems. I do watch the power I use like the shop vac which is my highest powered item besides the AC. Depending on my day I will plug in my AC so I don't have any power issues on hot days. I am noticing a little less power lately so we need to check the water level in the batteries, its been 8 months.

      You can see pictures of ours on my website , go to mobile salon. Click on the van picture & it will take you to the shutterfly pictures. I have the start to finish pictures of my rig on there, you can look at the still pictures or as a slideshow.

      The Soapy Puppy


      • #4
        Done right, an inverter system works in moderate climates. But to do an inverter system right, you will spend the same amount of money for a good generator. You could make a hybrid system that would allow you to use a generator with less capacity. We have an inverter in our RV that allows us to use batteries for the television and my husbands CPAP machine when we are on the road and want to stop for a few hours.

        But in Florida, the summers are just too long and hot to rely on batteries alone to run everything. That's why for the grooming van, we rely on our Onan generator for 7000 watts of power. It costs about $4 an hour to operate when you add in the cost of maintenance.
        "With God's help, all things are possible!"
        Laura Lee Ray
        I am kats_melody on eGroomer. Follow my Twitter tweets - @ZOOMGROOM on


        • #5

          I think its a matter of weight, this is our Inverter setup before the topper went on. I can run the ac all day, and all the goodies, clipper vac, HV, shop vac (for clean up) hot water heater & pump for 5 dogs a day and the controller says Ive used 40 to 45 % of the total charge. and I buy about 1 gallon of water every 3 months or so, my electric bill has gone up about $29.00 a month, I do have a Honda genny as a backup but only run it for a few minuets a week . My math puts it at about 13 cents an hour. It can be done, but its heavy and the upfront costs are about the same as a 7k onan. the genny I had before drank on average 7 gallons of gas a day., DH did the maintenance on the genny monthly and used about $35.00 in stuff to maintain it. At todays gas prices thats about $550 a month in fuel and up keep. DH is keeping an eye on the specific gravity (what ever that is) of the batteries and says we are on target for a cycle life of 1400, thats a little over 4 years, we'll see on that, but at 550 a month in fuel I'm not spending, I can buy 1.5 sets a batteries a year and still come out ahead.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            My cost to get all the stuff was about $1740. That is $450 for the inverter & $450 for the charger, then $80 each battery at 8 batteries. Parts & wires came to about $200. It might have been a little more because I forgot about the breaker boxes etc we bought for it & the special quick disconnecters too. I need to check the water here real soon but so far its been very easy. My business has been slow so when we got the van & inverter system running in June I was doing about 27 dogs a month. This yr is booming, Jan 38 dogs & Feb 28 dogs. March is looking like it will be like Jan. I'd like to be doing 48 - 50 dogs a month. So I will need to start checking my water levels more then 6-7months, more like very 3months I think.

            The Soapy Puppy


            • #7
              I went with the Inverter

              in my first home conversion. I didn't have the option of a gene, no room or one, as my converted rig was a small class B RV. I had a special box made for the batteries to sit in, so there would be no off gassing in my work space, since the batteries and I were in the same space.

              It took just 3 days to rig up my second conversion, using the same batteries and equipment when my LeSharo died and went to that big HWY in the sky. My second rig is working super with my system, and I can run the roof top AC or just fan on the same batteries. Not all day mind you, but then I start early and living her in Western WA, no need too for the most part. The fan does come in handy on occasion if we get some hot days, or if the rig is getting warm and it's cool outside.

              My system has the Aims 5K/10K inverter, the 80 amp charger, and 8 batteries, water-fill deep cycle. My original system cost $2700 in 2006. I'm still using the same equipment/batteries. They have done as many 10 Bichons in a day, with power to spare. BUT...I use amp-wize equipment. my biggest user is my Stand dryer at 14amps on high heat. The Tote pulls 9amps, the BB pulls 5.5, clippers maybe 1.5 and my lights pull 400 milli-amps each (I have 5)...not sure how many amps the fan on the roof pulls or how many the AC will pull. But I can run both the stand dryer on med (12 amps) and the roof AC for about 3 hours straight before I start seeing a major drop of power on the reader lights on the Inverter.

              My system is independant of the engine of the RV, so no tricle charging as I drive. I just charge overnight, and usually it only takes a few hours, then goes into maint. mode for the rest of the time. You can see some shots of my system on the RV to Grooming page of my web site.


              • #8

                Over the course of 12 years Ive used two systems one is still in use the cost of both came out to 2150.00 DIY That was the price back then when no one was interested in inverters.
                The cost for charging is the utility companies per KW + 10% maybe 16 cents per KW average.A KW is equal to 1000 watts. My usage is around 5 KW with a peak of 7KW per day for grooming. A dollar and 12 cents a day at 7KW a day over 3000 work days 3360.00 bucks for electric.
                The advantage for me is it is quiet does not smell.I can work anywhere any time and not make a sound as apposed to a genny. The 30K I would have spent if I used a genny to do the same job over the same time period ah that's not important. It's all about the quiet so I can hear the stereo.


                • #9
                  True costs and considerations of generators and inverter systems

                  When you are making comparisons, make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

                  To obtain the true cost per hour, you should figure in:

                  Maintenance - say every 100 hours you have to change the oil and filters. Add up the cost of the parts and labor and divide by 100. Ditto for plug replacement, around 500 hours.

                  Replacement fund - say your generator will be due for a replacement or major overhaul at 5000 hours. Take the cost of the generator or major overhaul, divide by 5000.

                  Fuel - Onan says that the CMM 7000 consumes 1.3 gallons per hour at full load. Take your fuel cost per gallon and multiply by 1.3 for your fuel cost per hour.

                  As for inverters, the same is true:

                  Maintenance - the cost of distilled water for the batteries, check every 100 hours and replenish as necessary. Checking the battery connections, replacement of corroded cables should also be figured here.

                  Replacement fund - replacing the full battery bank at the 36 month point or sooner, depending upon experience. Inverter systems do not last forever, either. Figure a useful life of five years before major service or replacement when the system is in daily use.

                  Fuel - yes, inverters use fuel, their fuel is electricity from the grid or a generator. Find the kilowatt cost per hour from your utility, determine the rate of consumption of your inverter system when charging the battery bank. That energy is not free and needs to be entered into the equation.

                  The additional weight of the batteries over a generator must also be considered as this will adversely affect your vehicle's fuel economy. A full battery bank weighs on average twice as much as a generator.

                  While inverters may be practical in moderate climates, in more tropical or desert climates you will be hard pressed to get a full day of grooming with an inverter while still running an air conditioner at full capacity. You can add more batteries, but the more batteries (and weight) you add means there is less capacity for equipment, consumables such as fresh water and vehicle fuel.

                  You also have to consider your vehicle's maximum gross weight. Being overweight is not only dangerous, but it is illegal. This applies to both generator and inverter installations.

                  In our case, we reach maximum gross vehicle weight of 9400 pounds with the generator fuel tank full, vehicle tank full, water tank full, waste tank empty, with driver and passenger. We cannot add a hybrid system without removing other equipment or not filling tanks to full capacity. A rule of is fuel and water weigh eight pounds per gallon.

                  With either generator or inverter, it's not just simply tossing the gear in. You have to plan to ensure you have sufficient capacity without exceeding the maximum weight your vehicle can carry.
                  "With God's help, all things are possible!"
                  Laura Lee Ray
                  I am kats_melody on eGroomer. Follow my Twitter tweets - @ZOOMGROOM on


                  • #10

                    I realize your frustration with your RV but your inverter was not the culprit that determined how or to what extent your RV was insulated so the air conditioner could work efficiently. Thats is likely why you needed so much air conditioning capacity in the first place. A larger and larger generator can always be used to power larger and larger equipment to hide the lack of insulation in any situation. Insulation is payed for once fuel is payed for daily. I do not imagine you built it either but you did pick the RV for reasons which did not include how efficient it was.
                    I know of another person who placed an inverter in the bilge of a boat and allowed the under sized battery bank to sit for extended periods of time without keeping it charged up in very wet conditions who was also very unhappy. I would consider those operator/owner errors in the same way failing to keep oil in a engine would be viewed by a gen manufacturer.